News & Press: NJSPLS News

Important Message from NJSPLS President John Beattie

Sunday, March 22, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rona Goldberg
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We know that many of you have questions about Governor Murphy's Executive Orders 107 and 108 which was issued on Saturday, March 21, 2020 - specifically their application to the profession of land surveying. Please see the press release from Jerrel Harvey, the Governor's Deputy Press Secretary which is copied at the bottom of this email.

The nature of our business is very specific and admittedly not clearly covered by the message from the Governor. NJSPLS is reaching out to the Governor's office in an effort to clarify the scope of the Executive Orders, and we will provide an update to you with any pertinent information we receive.

In the interim, while we are not purporting to provide legal advice, business owners should review the full text of the Executive Orders. We would highlight the below language from Executive Orders 107 and 108:

“Examples of employees who need to be present at their work site in order to perform their job duties include, but are not limited to…construction workers, utility workers, repair workers…and certain administrative staff.”

“To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue. “

Note that you may review the full text of the Executive Orders via the following links:

https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-107.pdf
https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-108.pdf

Again, in such uncertain times, we are all looking for answers. We want to be able to pay our bills, pay our employees, and keep our families safe. While the Governor stated during Saturday's press conference that construction activities (commercial and residential) may continue, the exact scope and breadth of that statement remains unclear. Moreover, to the extent that back office / non-field activities are performed by a surveying business, the Executive Orders are quite clear that work-from-home arrangements must be permitted and invoked to the extent practicable.

In sum, what the government's actions of this weekend mean for the profession of land surveying is not entirely clear and may change on a day-by-day basis as the proportionate response to this crisis continues.

Given that we have not yet been provided concrete answers about the impact on our profession, you should speak with your clients about the pending scope of work and be on the same page as to next actions. Similarly, it is important to talk to your employees and ensure that you are providing a safe work environment where everyone feels comfortable.

Our primary concern is your health and wellbeing through these difficult times, please stay safe and follow protocols regarding social distancing and other directives regarding COVID19. We look forward to seeing you all healthy, happy, and busy at the other end of this.

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COVID-19 Press Information

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 21, 2020

CONTACT: Jerrel Harvey
Press Office: Governor's Office
Email: jerrel.harvey@nj.gov

Governor Murphy Announces Statewide Stay at Home Order, Closure of All Non-Essential Retail Businesses
Order Also Prohibits All Social Gatherings, Mandates Work From Home Arrangements for Employees When Possible, and Invalidates Any Conflicting Local and County Regulations

NEWARK – To mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and protect the capacity of New Jersey’s health care system for the state’s most vulnerable, Governor Phil Murphy today signed Executive Order No. 107, directing all residents to stay at home until further notice. The order provides for certain exceptions, such as obtaining essential goods or services, seeking medical attention, visiting family or close friends, reporting to work, or engaging in outdoor activities.
“From day one, we’ve made a commitment to be guided by the facts and take any action necessary to protect the health and safety of New Jersey’s nine million residents,” said Governor Murphy. “We know the virus spreads through person-to person contact, and the best way to prevent further exposure is to limit our public interactions to only the most essential purposes. This is a time for us all to come together in one mission to ‘flatten the curve’ and slow – and eventually halt – the spread of coronavirus.”
In effort to strengthen the existing social distancing measures in place, the order also prohibits all gatherings of individuals, such as parties, celebrations, or other social events, unless otherwise authorized by the Order. When in public, individuals must practice social distancing and stay at least six feet apart whenever possible, excluding immediate family members, caretakers, household members, or romantic partners.
Governor Murphy’s Executive Order further directs the closure of all non-essential retail businesses to the public, with the exceptions of:
• Grocery stores, farmer's markets and farms that sell directly to customers, and other food stores, including retailers that offer a varied assortment of foods comparable to what exists at a grocery store;
• Pharmacies and medical marijuana dispensaries;
• Medical supply stores;
• Gas stations;
• Convenience stores;
• Ancillary stores within healthcare facilities;
• Hardware and home improvement stores;
• Banks and other financial institutions;
• Laundromats and dry-cleaning services;
• Stores that principally sell supplies for children under five years;
• Pet stores;
• Liquor stores;
• Car dealerships, but only for auto maintenance and repair, and auto mechanics;
• Printing and office supply shops;
• Mail and delivery stores.
Nothing in the Order shall limit 1) the provision of health care or medical services; 2) access to essential services for low-income residents, such as food banks; 3) the operations of the media; 4) law enforcement agencies, or 5) the operations of the federal government.
Additionally, the order mandates that all businesses or non-profits, wherever practicable, must accommodate their workforce for telework or work-from-home arrangements. To the extent a business or non-profit has employees that cannot perform their functions via telework or work-from-home arrangements, the business or non-profit should make best efforts to reduce staff on site to the minimal number necessary to ensure that essential operations can continue.
Examples of employees who need to be present at their work site in order to perform their job duties include, but are not limited to, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, IT maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.
The Order continues existing bans on recreational and entertainment businesses, requirements that all restaurants operate by delivery and takeout only, and the directive that all pre-K, elementary, and secondary schools close and all institutions of higher education cease in-person instruction.
Governor Murphy also signed Executive Order No. 108, which invalidates any county or municipal restriction that in any way will or might conflict with any of the provisions of Executive Order No. 107. Municipalities or counties cannot 1) make any additions to or deletions from the list of essential retail businesses; 2) impose any additional limitations on businesses beyond the Governor's Order; 3) impose any additional density or social distancing requirements; or 4) impose any additional restrictions on freedom of movement. The only exceptions are two categories over which municipalities or counties may impose any additional restrictions: 1) online marketplaces for arranging or offering lodging and 2) municipal or county parks.
All additional county and municipality restrictions, subject to the provisions above, are not only invalidated, but, going forward, municipalities or counties may not enact or enforce any rule or ordinance which will or might conflict with any of the provisions of Executive Order No. 107.
The orders shall take effect on Saturday, March 21 at 9:00 p.m.